Elena Bowes

New York-London travel & design writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

See, Smell, Taste and Touch

January 20th, 2015
Southeast Asia
Wanderings: Elsewhere

God, I love to travel. I just came back from a three week holiday to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with my family and close family friends, the Vere Nicoll’s. It only made me yearn to discover more exotic places. Every sense is on high alert. From the fragrant lime basil that cuts the pungent smell at a Bangkok early morning market (that’s my daughter Kate and our camera-mad tour guide Tee in the background)

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to the eye-catching surprises along the way, we were constantly entertained.

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Here is Kate making a local friend in Bangkok.

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And Elias Vere Nicoll hamming it up with a Chinese tourist in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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Travel takes you out of your world and wham bam lands you in another whether you like it or not. You meet people you’d normally never meet. See things you’d never see. And come home with a mind expanded that only firsthand experience can do.

My ideal: The stranger the better as long as there’s good coffee in the morning. Thailand delivers on the spicy food and gorgeous beaches,

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but I warmed more to the less touristy Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam – especially southern Vietnam where the locals were incredibly warm. This happy Vietnamese couple have been together for about 60 years.

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Vietnamese chef Tran Thanh Duc below with Cristina Vere Nicoll gave us a shopping and cooking lesson in Hoi An that I can only describe as utterly terrific and delicious. He’s going places.

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Travel can also bring you closer to the people you’re with, shared experiences and all that. Melanie Vere Nicoll and me in Luang Prabang, Laos.

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We traveled with Trufflepig, a Toronto-based travel group that I highly recommend. All you really need is good people, an open mind and the ability to laugh when things don’t go according to plan (which is a travel guaranty). 

I’ll be posting more on our life-altering trip in the coming weeks.

January, 2015